Petition, Early Day Motion and campaign website all launched to pressure EA into reversing its decision

The fight back has well and truly begun against the Environment Agency’s plan to sell off 10 lock houses and rent out to third parties a further 12.

An online petition, a campaign website, and a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) have all been launched to try and pressure the EA into reversing its decision.

The petition had, as of this morning, attracted 731 signatures, and reads: “We need lock-keepers, and they need to live very close to the river itself. There is no excuse for this action.”

The EDM , meanwhile, has now been signed by 24 MPs, after being launched on the 15 May by Ian Taylor, the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton.

It asks the EA to “re-examine its decision so as to prevent this unique part of our river heritage and the tradition of lock keepers living at the site of locks being lost.”

Finally, the Save our Service website has been launched to bring together all this campaign information in one place.

Its creator, who wished to remain anonymous, told MBM: “I feel very passionately about the work the lock and weir keepers do, much of which is beyond the public gaze. I have seen first hand the type of incidents that can occur on the lock-side; it can be a dangerous place despite its beautiful setting.

“I know that the lock-keepers do far more than for the hours for which they are paid. Phone calls in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning to perform the necessary weir movements are all part of their unseen duties. I believe the changes that the EA are planning are morally wrong, and are purely cost driven as a result of cuts in the EA budget by DEFRA.”

Don’t forget to pick up July’s MBM, out 19 June, for the latest on the campaign.